Divided Society Archives Available
By Mary Gallagher, Editorial Assistant
April / May 2018
In January the Linen Hall Library in Belfast launched a new digital archive dedicated to the Troubles. Founded in 1968, the institution has amassed over 350,000 primary sources and essays relating to the conflict in Northern Ireland, the largest collection of its kind. The archive, called Divided Society, covers the events from 1990-1998 that culminated in the Good Friday Agreement. The archive is expected to serve as an educational tool, facilitating an in-depth understanding of an essential era of Ireland’s storied past.
Library director Julie Andrews told the Irish News that the goal of collecting both primary sources and academic essays is to “give an accurate description” of the atmosphere of the period and what it was like to live through it.
Speaking with the BBC at the launch event, Andrews also said that the library chose to focus on the 1990s “because it was a peace and reconciliation period in Northern Ireland. Internationally, students are very interested in that, and for many years people have been coming to the library to study that period anyway.” The materials, she said, are unique in that they “give people completely different viewpoints, and then people can make up their own minds about situations.”
The archive contains hundreds of scholarly journals, original posters, and an audio-visual gallery that provides interviews and news reports from the time. Access to the archives is free to residents of Ireland and the U.K.; individuals applying for personal use elsewhere pay an annual fee of £300. Visit dividedsociety.org for more. ♦